Lessons Learned from Rejection

Donna Wichelman Uncategorized

I will always remember the drizzly day I ambled Emily Brontë’s heather-dressed moors at age seventeen. As an American student in the United Kingdom writing a thesis on Wuthering Heights, my romantic spirit soared, savoring my chance encounter with an old gent, sporting a cap and a cane, whose family had known the Brontës. The experience sealed my desire to write.
          The first time an editor solicited a manuscript I had pitched, my heart danced. I knew it would be accepted and become a best seller. I’d be another Emily Brontë. Months later, I received a rejection letter in the mail with constructive notes and the editor’s good wishes. I felt crushed and never implemented the changes.
           Over the years, I’ve sold personal essays, short stories and devotionals. Two years ago, after an unsuccessful run with an agent, I self-published my first Christian suspense, Light Out of Darkness, which will see a reprint at the end of March along with the publication of the sequel Undaunted Valor on April 4th.  You will hear more about that in the coming weeks.
          In spite of modest success, rejection has often made me think about giving up this seemingly hopeless cause. In time, I realized the onus was on me to hone my craft, never to be complacent about my work, to accept constructive criticism and throw out the chaff.  
          Most important, I learned my value as a person doesn’t depend on whether my work gets accepted. I am much more than my writing. As a person of faith, my worth comes from God, not glory or fame. I write to bring people with me on a journey of joy, wonder and discovery. If I’ve touched one heart, if one morsel of truth encourages a soul, then I’ve done my job. I may not be Emily Brontë, but I wasn’t meant to be, and that’s honestly okay with me.
          The greatest advice I can give beginning authors is this: never stop learning your craft, but always remember where your worth as a person comes from.